The Last Return

Theatre (comedy, new writing)

  • Traverse Theatre - Traverse 1
  • 10:30
  • Aug 28
  • 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Suitability: 14+ (Guideline)
  • Country: Ireland
  • Group: Druid
  • Warnings and additional info: Scenes of violence, Strobe lighting, Contains loud noises, full blackout, adult themes and depictions of violence to others.
  • Accessibility: May not apply to all performances. You'll find more information about accessibile performances and how to book tickets in the accessibility tab below.
  • Babes in arms policy: Babies do not require a ticket
  • Policy applies to: Children under 2 years


Not all good things come to those who wait. One final night. One last chance. Five people queue for a ticket to the hottest show in town. All they must do is simply wait in line. But what in life is ever simple? Who will triumph, who will fail, and who will walk away with… The Last Return? A new play by acclaimed playwright Sonya Kelly (How to Keep an Alien, The Wheelchair on My Face), The Last Return is a thrilling comedy about conflict, peace and the pursuit of territory at any cost.

Please note that while all media gallery content is provided by verified members of the event, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society does not review or approve this content before it is posted. Reports of inappropriate content or copyright infringement can be directed to [email protected].

General venue access

  • Accessible entry: Traverse 1 has a steep rake so if you have any access requirements, there is level access into the building via lift. Duty Manager will show customers into the theatre to their seat/space. If not taking the lift there are 29 steep steps from the bar Bar to Stage Level of Traverse 1.
  • Wheelchair access type: Building Lift

  • Stairs: 20+
    Number of stairs is provided as guidance and is not in addition to any wheelchair access type (lift/ramp etc) stated above.

Each venue can contain several space with different accessibly information. Visit the venue page for full venue accessibility info

How and when to make an access booking

Our access tickets service is available to anyone who:

  • Would like to book specific accessibility services, e.g. a hearing loop, audio description headsets, captioning units, seating in relation to the location of the BSL interpreter
  • Requires extra assistance when at a venue
  • Has specific seating requirements
  • Is a wheelchair user
  • Requires a complimentary personal assistant ticket to attend a performance

Sharon Alexander 32 days ago

Starts out as pretty broad comedy but suddenly the absurd becomes extremely dark. Important social and political messages. But the plot line is full of flaws.

Eve 33 days ago

The female lead was excellent and had a great script to work with… for the first 40 minutes.
The last part of the play was a bit like something a 6th form group put together if they’ve been asked to choose 3 random cards with things to include in their play. The ending was saccharine and disconnected. It seemed to follow a pattern at the fringe of touching on very important, sensitive topics in a careless and tokenistic way.

Blexie 34 days ago

This is the worst piece of theatre I have seen in a very long time and I’ve been working in theatre for 20 years. Saw a lot of excellent shows at the fringe this year and expected this to be one of them, as it was playing at the Traverse and twice the price of most, but it was far from excellent. The premise is an interesting one but it’s delivery was so incredibly clumsy and cringeworthy that, if I hadn’t been sitting in the middle of a row, I would have left within 20 minutes. I’m not sure why this has received good reviews, I can only assume that the critics are either people who think bad farce circa 1960 is good theatre or didn’t actually see this show! I would save your money and go and see something else.

Liz 39 days ago

Some of the acting was good, and the set was great, but the message at the end was clumsily written and seemed more to box-tick than anything else. The show did not warrant such a large corporate venue, which gave it a commercial rather than a "Fringe" feel. One star.

Zaynah 40 days ago

I've seen a lot of theatre this fringe but The Last Return might just be the best one. Made me both laugh out loud and tear up, 5*

FM 41 days ago

A very mixed bag this one. The actors performed brilliantly, but the play itself is weird, rushed, and fails to make any point strongly enough. The comedy of it is at times very forced, especially at the beginning (‘are you absolutely sure it’s sold out?…. Completely absolutely sure?…’ ; not the best joke of the night). It does get better later on, but then things become very predictable… the farce of it all is obvious and predictable, yet not that funny… And then things are not predictable. Instead, they become downright ridiculous, and the plot stretches plausibility like a fat man jumping on a trampoline. Suddenly we have an American soldier catapulted in, claiming to need to see this show to cure his PTSD, then snipers kill a university professor through a glass ceiling, a woman poisons other theatre goers, and a ticket sales lady takes a machine gun from under the desk. I mean… it’s the whole kitchen sink in an unnecessary grotesque way, and it makes very little sense, while not being terribly funny or artistic. It’s not Eugen Ionesco, it’s just a whole bunch of stuff thrown at the audience illogically. And then we get a political message. Noble as the message itself may be, it’s just thrown in, like yet another spice on an already weirdly tasting dish. It’s trying to touch the audience, but it makes no impact whatsoever because it’s rushed in the last 10 minutes or so, simply appliquéd onto a play that’s convoluted and confused. Like someone else mentioned, it very much feels like it’s trying to tick a lot of boxes in 80-85 minutes. Fine performances from the actors, they really managed to save it at times, but this is a weak and disorientating script. I’m not sure I’ll rush to see it again.

Sara Shiner 41 days ago

Absolutely brilliant - must be seen.
Acting superb, play superb, setting superb and directing superb.
5 star

Al Clarke 42 days ago

Simple farce 1*

Nick Hunn 44 days ago

It was rather appropriate that it was sold out the night we saw it. But the five best seats in the house were empty, presumably reserved for critics. It made you wonder what the critics would make of something so alien to them? It’s an enjoyable show – a bit Martin McDonagh meets Alan Bennett, but at times it feels as if it was deliberately ticking boxes to win itself a fringe first. I wished they’d cut the last minute, as the ending felt too clean. Fun, but probably ephemeral.

Adele Nicol 45 days ago

I'm in a minority of one, but I hated this. It's sub-par Dario Fo absurdist comedy. It's all deeply obvious; even the tacked on happy ending. I found it irritating and tedious.

Julie Phillips 46 days ago

This was excellent. What a wonderful end to our day. The actors performed this so well. It was funny and dark at the same time. Go see it you will not be disappointed

JDK 49 days ago

As expected from the Travers, what you see is not what you expect in the most positive way. Good show, great acting! There was no need to get grotesque. Strong political message. 3.5/5

Douglas Peters 50 days ago

Enjoyed the show. Well-acted. The dialogue was particularly clear and I could hear every word without straining.

Fringe Bingers 52 days ago

A highly pointed and brilliantly witty new play done full justice by the cast. ****

Participants - for further details on our audience and published review policies, including how to add or opt out of reviews, please click here.

Times (5/5 stars) 40 days ago

Sonya Kelly’s delicious absurdist comedy is so witty and so unpredictable that it will surely find an audience anywhere.

Read the full review

What's On Stage (5/5 stars) 40 days ago

The play remains devastatingly funny even as it becomes increasingly unsettling and violent and director Sara Joyce confidently holds the delicate balance.

Read the full review

The Arts Desk (5/5 stars) 40 days ago

The Last Return is blisteringly funny, and so tightly written that barely a word feels out of place

Read the full review

The Wee Review (5/5 stars) 40 days ago

A wickedly sharp black comedy that never loses sight of the bigger picture

Read the full review

The Scotsman (4/5 stars) 40 days ago

elegant and powerful production

Read the full review

The Reviews Hub (4/5 stars) 40 days ago

Remarkably clever, and with an underhanded wit and thirst for violence, The Last Return struts out with the air of an eighties sketch comedy, light-hearted, mirthful, and framed through Francis O’Connor’s studio setup. By the end, no one who purchased a ticket for this show leaves the same way.

Read the full review

Fest Magazine (4/5 stars) 40 days ago

An unapologetically political and powerful show

Read the full review

The National 40 days ago

Sonya Kelly’s The Last Return proved itself the funniest and most politically devastating play of the year

Read the full review

Fringe Review 40 days ago

This is an extremely polished production with a great all round ensemble of creatives contributing to the overall effect.

Read the full review

Participants - for further details on our audience and published review policies, including how to add or opt out of reviews, please click here.

Please login to add a review

Participants - for further details on our audience and published review policies, including how to add or opt out of reviews, please click here.